With the exception of one pitch – Addison Reed’s room service fastball to Ryan Zimmerman – the Mets’ bullpen pitched large in today’s 5-3 victory over the Nationals. The headliner, of course, was Jeurys Familia, less than 24 hours after he was pulled from a save opportunity last night, put down the Nationals in order this afternoon.
FAMILIA CELEBRATES WITH RIVERA (AP)
Manager Terry Collins vowed Familia was still his closer, didn’t have anybody warming up in the ninth.
“It is very important for a lot of reasons,” Collins said of Familia’s first save of the season. “We’re excited to get him on the right track.”
The parade to Familia started with two outs in the fifth when Collins pulled starter Zack Wheeler, and for the second straight game brought in Josh Edgin to shut down one of the Nationals’ lefty sluggers.
Today he got Daniel Murphy on a fly to right with a runner on third. Edgin ended Friday’s game with the bases loaded by getting Bryce Harper on 1-2-3 double play.
Collins said Edgin’s slider has been biting.
“Confidence is big in this game and he believes he can get people out,” Collins said.
WHEELER LABORS: It wasn’t a strong start for Wheeler, and that could be one of the best things to happen for him.
Wheeler gave up two runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts. That’s a lot of activity over 96 pitches.
“His pitch count is one thing, but he was in trouble for the whole game,” Collins said. “He had to battle all game long and I think that’s good for hm. You have to show you can go out there and compete when you don’t have your best stuff.”
The Nationals were 2-for-11 with RISP and stranded eight runners, with six put on by Wheeler, who kept the game in the balance.
“I wasn’t my best today,” Wheeler said. “I fell behind and threw a lot of pitches, but I made some pitches when I had to.”
INJURY UPDATES: Falling under the “I’ll Believe It When I See It,” category, the Mets have positive reports on Lucas Duda and Yoenis Cespedes.
GM Sandy Alderson seemed optimistic Duda (hyperextended elbow) can come off the disabled list when he’s eligible Monday. T.J. Rivera will continue to play first base until Duda is available.
Meanwhile, the Mets say Cespedes could be ready May 8, which is highly optimistic considering how he looked when he was re-injured.
Alderson said an ultrasound didn’t show significant damage and called the injury mild.
As I’ve always said, when it comes to Mets’ statements on injuries, bet the over.
Meanwhile, pitcher Steven Matz and Seth Lugo – both on the DL with elbow injuries – were scheduled to throw off the slope of the mound today. Their return dates are for late May.
In addition, Travis d’Arnaud left the game when his back stiffened up and will not play Sunday.
ANOTHER RIVERA: Rivera is making the most of his opportunity. He had three hits Friday and two more today, and will stay in the lineup.
The minor league batting champion is hitting and is worthy of more playing time, even if it takes playing time from Jose Reyes (.173) and Neil Walker (.205).
The Mets have won two straight, but their offense has been relatively anemic the last two weeks.
HOT REYES: In danger of losing his job a week ago, Reyes is slowly finding his offensive groove, but not to the point where the Mets should move him back to the leadoff spot – especially with Michael Conforto as hot as he is.
In his last five games, Reyes is hitting .444 with a .525 on-base percentage, two stolen bases and two homers, including one for an insurance run in the ninth today.
Even so, Reyes is still below .200.
For as cold as they were, the after winning two straight, Collins shouldn’t monkey with what is working.
“Jose is starting to play like we know he can do offensively,” Collins said. “Him getting on base is how we’re going to win games.”
Reyes will start at shortstop tomorrow to give Asdrubal Cabrera a day off.
TOMORROW’S GAME: The Mets go for the sweep Sunday behind Noah Syndergaard.